A few days ago I read in my daily Bible reading Proverbs 24:10, “If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited.” My mind went to several difficult things that I am presently involved in and a few other difficult things that I could be involved in if I allowed myself. I thought about one of our past church initiatives that we simply called “Do something.” I began thinking what would the Lord have me to do.
The next day, in my reading, I read Luke 24:49 which contains the instruction of Jesus to His disciples after His resurrection and before His ascension. “And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” In addition I saw an article based on this Scripture that challenged pastors that there were certain occasions “to do nothing.”
Ah… “to do something” or “to do nothing.” There are occasions when one is right and the other is wrong. And to know the difference? How do we know? Maybe these few principles will guide us in some way.
There are certain times when it is always right to do something. It is always the right time to share the Gospel. That seems to be one New Testament application of the next verse in Proverbs 24. “Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling.” In addition, we should always stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves. (Proverbs 31:8)
There are certain times to do nothing. I took an interesting call yesterday. An attorney, from out of state and who I do not know, called to complain to me about a pastor in another city of another denomination. He was looking for somebody to do something to put a stop to this guy’s ministry. That is kind of an easy decision to do nothing, except I probably erred in even taking the call.
But, there are lots of decisions in the middle, right? To do something or to do nothing—that is the question. We need to know the mind of God. King David the mighty warrior had to ask God, “Should I attack?” (2 Samuel 5:19) The Apostle Paul had to ask the Lord which cities to go into. He was allowed by the Holy Spirit to enter some and restricted to enter others.
One principle that I have tried to live by is that I can’t do everything. This is unwise for us, unproductive toward the things we should be doing, and arrogant to think that every situation needs us.
May God give you the wisdom today to do something or to do nothing. May we have the obedience today to do something or to do nothing. Lord, what do you want me to do today?